Kpalime, Togo West Africa
Saturday, April 7, 2007
I started raining about 10:00 am and has turned into a daylong drencher here in Togo.
There is GREEN at the bottom of Togo.
The green on this map is where there is rain forest.
- Tropical rain forests are located near the equator where the temperature hovers around 27° C (80° F) year-round. Although they cover, less than 10 percent of the Earth’s surface, tropical rain forests provide habitat for 50 to 90 percent of the world’s plant and animal species. -
- The climate of Togo is tropical. Average annual temperatures range from 27°C (81°F) at the coast to 30°C (86°F) in the north. The south has two rainy seasons, from March to July and from October to November; the average annual rainfall on the coast is about 890 mm (about 35 in). It doubles in the mountains a few kilometers inland. The north has one rainy season (April to July) and receives nearly all of its annual precipitation (1,140 mm/45 in) during this period. - (2)
I would say, the prediction is rain. It is cooler now.
A rain forest is in fun in way, too wet sometimes; however, when there is an extremely good rain forest the overabundance of green is amazing. Water plus Soil equals green.
Of all the places on the planet to complain about lack of food, the one place I am not too excited to hear, is in a rain forest. The green explodes in a true rainforest, I am not going to say that Togo is a true rainforest, for one thing, most of the forest is missing, long ago logged for the Mahogany and other woods, and now used as the fuel to cook. There has been an environmental shock given to this area by my guess the loggers, and continues for firewood.
I believe the food grows so easily in Togo; they do not even weed the gardens or care to clear the land properly. They in a way just turn the soil over; plant the seeds in big mounds and hope.
This is a photo of a large mound of dirt, as I understand in each mound they planted a Yam. The mounds are made in this teepee fashion so the heavy and persistent rain has a trough for the water to flow around the mounds, however allowing the yam to remain. This is not as easy to learn about as you think.
I have been talking with a friend in the USA about Africa farmland. There is something missing in this puzzle, or there is some confusion here. The land is flat, too much water, plenty of cheap labor, and the land under tilled or cultivated. As best I can farm is less than 25 percent of the land that could be farmed, and I am being nice.
I do not see this country and having any cash crops, they have garden crops they sell in the local markets. However, the actual, we grow this for cash, and sell to the world is hard to see. Ivory Coast or the areas closer to Ivory Coast are better, while in the Ivory Coast I could see cash crops grown easily.
Togo eats rice as one of their staple diets, and I do not remember ever seeing rice grown here. Now, it does require more work to grow rice and working hard is not culturally normal, or I do not see it.
I see most of the rice imported from Thailand or from a bag, that says the USA, but I think from India or Thailand and sold an Uncle Sam Rice, they also have Uncle Bob.
I am not sure, seems like a great place in Togo, Ghana and Benin to start a large farm business. I think the Ivory Coast is already doing well.
I have never seen a typical rain forest in Togo; however, they are doing an exceptionally good job of burning West Africa to cook. In addition, the loggers did and exceptionally good job of cutting down all the trees for lumber. This place is flat, easy to do all this.
African Shooting Star
Danyi Apeyeme, Togo West Africa
Monday, April 23, 2007
I opened my door to my room, answering the most common need on the planet, I need to urinate.
I look up at the sky, whoosh a white light, I think,
- Wow, cool. -
A shooting star.
It rained last night, the air is fresh, I cannot say that in French, life is good. I shut my windows because of the cold. I think of song about,
- Who will stop the rain? -
I think to myself,
- Who sent the rain? -
Water, the sun, the earth beneath my feet, it all pretty simple.
Crickets are blaring, it is black dark, lying under a mosquito net, wondering how we made the planet so big, confusing and complicated when it is so simple.
African Shooting Star
Rain Defeats Togo Business
Lome, Togo West Africa
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Monday morning here in Lome, Togo, a cooling heavy rain started about 7:00 am and has dwindled to a light sprinkle at 10:07 am.
The rain has destroyed all but the essential business, the stay open rain or shine, sleet or dark of night types.
95 percent of business is at a standstill, they did not open in the capital of Lome, Togo.
Rain, work called off on the count of rain…
I am in the Garden of Eden, and work is just a hobby, something to do like a wife who married a rich husband and decides to work for something to do.
I am traveler, a tourist, and I take all rain days off, just not possible, and of no fun, to walk around in the rain in other countries. I normally hang around the room and type on this silly computer while it rains or read a book; it does not rain all day, even in the so-called-monsoon countries.
However, this morning, I got hungry, so I left the room, thinking, I will just step out with my umbrella and get a quick snack. I took a left out of the hotel, and then took another hard left. I will go to Belindas place and get four of them hard biscuit cookies. Nope closed, therefore I backed up, and I decided to walk North and then take a left and pass all the small shops, yes, the popcorn, peanut, sowing place is open. No food for sale and none of the workers are there, except for my one friend. I start weaving though the neighborhood, stopping at every food stop I know, none are open, finally I make it 6 blocks away from the hotel, and to the first major street, I think it is name Duisburg, well, the one major bread shop is open, and the not friendly, but cheap and efficient food shop is open. There was no way to get a quick snack, the city is closed.
This really is the Garden of Eden; only in the Garden of Eden would all the business stop because of rain, the funny part, it they normally live in the same place as their shop. This is how they seem to be continually open, they open a front door to leave and the business is open, therefore to open during the rain is, not a problem.
I wish I could feel a little sorry for these people, the more I am here, the more I realize this is a paradise, and working is a hobby and option, not a need. I use to watch a men in Mexico, they would work labor until they had beer money, then stop.
I cannot imagine why anyone would send this country money; it just seems like naïve thing to do.
Rain Defeats Togo Business
Togo Mud Hole Season
Lome, Togo West Africa
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
I was commenting to the owner of my home stay room yesterday that the electricity is still a huge problem in Lome. When I asked about the electricity, the long explanation is there is not enough water in the dams to make hydroelectric power. I said to the owner,
- It is raining every day and there is still no electricity.
- The problem is not water, the problem is money. -
The electricity is off about 8-10 hours of the day, and very random, no way to know when you will or will not have electricity. Therefore, if a business needs electricity the must buy a generator, or live random.
July 18, 2007
As of today, I would say the weather in Togo has been nice for about the last two weeks. We are having afternoon showers, and then stops and maybe the showers start at midnight and stop in the early morning. I can actually sleep well without a fan.
I have thought about the problems with this word for years now.
I am hoping now is the rainy season, I have read there are two rainy seasons in Togo and I keep hoping the rains would start. In many countries, they call the summer, winter and the winter summer. The tropical worlds callsthe rainy season the winter. I am in the northern hemisphere so right now it is summer in the USA and it is summer in Togo however, this is not true. It is winter in Togo or more correctly, the season of cooler weather is now, it is winter.
I want monsoons.
I want the rainy season.
I want there to be water in the dam.
Togo Rainy season
- The south has two rainy seasons, from March to July and from October to November. -
The Encyclopedia Encarta says July is the end of one of the rainy season in Togo.
This is confusing. The bottom line is the rainy season normally is no longer a problem in tropical climates. There is a small shower in the afternoon and it may rain most of the night. The rain is good, it makes it cooler.
I think before the world put in asphalt roads the rainy season was horrible. There is a great road from here to about anywhere in West Africa, and I think for about 98 percent of the travelers they seldom travel off the paved road. I purchased the motorcycle so I can be the 1 in 50 who leaves the pavement. I can push a motorcycle around a mud hole.
I think now or I hope soon is the season of the,
- MUD HOLE -
I want to see mud holes when a person thinks of rainy season they should think of mud holes. The problem with a rainy season is not miserable rain all day, the problem is mud holes. This page from the Philippines has some great mud holes.
The stories of West Africa as best I can tell are greatly exaggerated. The four-wheel drive is seldom needed and most people drive around in station wagons or Mercedes Benz. I have only seen two vehicles with winches on the front of the truck, when the roads are bad all the truck or car have winches. Togo has Mercedes Benz and station wagons. I would guess about 99 percent of travelers of tourist could drive across West Africa in the family car.
They would have troubles and get stuck about 2-4 times in a six-month cross-countries trip and would get some boys to push them out. Moreover, if they purchased a large four-wheel drive they would do the same, they would get stuck about 2-4 time and they would get some boys to push them out.
There is a lag in time, the stories beign told today about Africa are stories told by people that traveled here 20-30 years ago, the guidebooks and stories are written about a West Africa that is history often and not reality.
I love to hear the stories, here are three stories still told constantly that now or just old history and for the most part crap, but some fun stories nonetheless.
1. Cameras stealing the people souls
2. The Condom on the Banana story.
3. The Rainy Seasons story.
Yes, if a person goes and searches, they can find the story. Yes, I was delayed for one-two days in the Philippines because of the rainy season of something. However, the truth is 30 years ago people were bogged down for weeks or months in areas and waited for the rains to pass so food and supplies could make the trip. The rainy season for the most part is now just inconvenient, not a hazard. For me, I want the rainy season to come to cool off the countries.
There is a time lag in stories; I know what I experience in Mexico 10 year ago in not the Mexico of today. Therefore, when I speak of Mexico, I should think that was 10 years ago.
The vision and stereotypes of the world of West Africa is some view of West Africa from 30-50 years ago, that was history, which is not today.
I am thinking that the best time to come to West Africa is during or just after the rainy season. I am not sure, weather is not a reason I use to plan a trip, I go when I want to go, however in the hope of having more electrify and the hope of cooler weather the rain season now seems the best time to travel.
One big problem and it does happen often is this, the tourist and travelers get drunk all night, they sleep until 10 am, wake up and take off, then it start to rain about noon or in the early afternoon. They get caught in the rain because they just are too lazy to get up and travel in the morning like the Togo people.
I do not want to think about the silly people who refuse to buy an umbrella. The season of the rainy season should be the season of the mud hole. If you are hearing stories of mud holes then maybe there are some problems, or a two-day delay and needs factored into your plans, you may have to wait two days to get around the mud hole. However, all in all a good mud hole story can be one the biggest adventure stories of your life, so look forward to a good mud hole story, it is the adventure story, and sometimes as good as it gets.
I really wish it was possible to get eaten by Lions here.
Togo Mud Hole Season
Rain Washing Away Bolga
Bolgatanga or Bolga, Ghana West Africa
Saturday, September 1, 2007
I just rambled on about the edge of culture at Yeji, Ghana and I am here in Bolgatanga, Ghana where un-natural or against the contra-ecosystem, development has created some sewer and water chaos.
This development is what people want money for and it creates often an annoyingly ugly situation for years and maybe decades. It requires time and money to maintain modern concentrated development of inner cities. There is no choice, when people want to cluster, and live in highly concentrated, pack to the gills cities, the country and cities must build sewer systems and a big time lag.
It is now raining very hard in Bolga, it has rain all night and slowly the higher points around this village are absorbing the water like a sponge. Tomorrow as the storm sewers are not adequate yet, and the run-off water finds a downhill path, it will create many rills, then channels as gravity of the land sponge allows the water to find its way to the sea. The city of Bolga seems to be on top of a location of many rills and channels.
Definition of Rill or Rills
1. stream: a little stream or brook
2. groove in soil: a small channel cut in soil
The sequence is something like this:
Convergence of Tributaries is a River
I found the large market in Bolga, just about 50 meters to the east of the large Lorry or Tro Tro Station. This mean, the large 15 passenger Vans and a few full-size buses. Mostly the 15 passenger vans and not the Taxis station. It was not on my map of the city, and the locals do not seem to understand the English word Market, I had to say Bananas, and they do not sell many Bananas there if any, I should have said Tomatoes, this would have lead me to the Market. I know this now in hindsight, tomatoes would lead me there, maybe groundnuts, a peanut to Americans.
In the market are rills, and actively flowing rills. It had not rained for about 24 hours when I arrived, and it was dry, the majority of puddles had evaporated. However, the rills continued to be fed from somewhere. It was a very curious experience for me; I was enthralled by the small rills, like a three-inch wide river or creek running through the market. Normally a rill starts and ends quickly.
There are sand bags in the market, trying to control the flow of the rills as they become channels and sometimes too large for the path. I am curious; the concrete or asphalt surfaces have expanded and created non-sponge areas of flat surface that seeks a low spot.
The market is good fun, as there are many bicycles and a few motorcycles, they use these paths and splash their way through some of the rills. There are very few bikes in Ghana and suddenly in this city of Bolga, there are hundreds. A person has to take care to not be hit by a bike or motorcycle, I was eating Fried Rice and Chicken the other night and a Vendor with a tub on her head was hit by a motorcycle, splashing the older lady into the street, fortunately, she did not appear hurt badly.
Water in Africa is fun, when it rains, what is a small channel can become a flooded roaring river, washing trash, plastic bags, and anything close into the channels and away to the nearest lake. A city becomes cleaner from manmade trash, however muddy and wet.
Rills form natural paths in dense vegetation and walking in the rill is easier than making a new path with a machete. Bolga is a construction zone as they somehow try to build up, sideways and try to manage the water, sewer, and byproducts of humans. Bolga is presently losing the battle; they have built way too many building structures and paved too many roads without adequate supplies of storm, sewage and water management or retention ponds.
Humorous to watch in a place where every sign says they ware working on development, and the NGOs just miss the point, start with the basics, provide infrastructure. The Chinese are good, they are doing a great job of giving Africa what they need, not what they want.
I could leave Bolga and overpopulated cluster of people full of chaotic development and go enter a small village, and the village would be very organized and manageable. While the bigger so-called developed is chaos. I would say the self-sustaining villages, what I have stopped calling subsistence farming may be the best use of land and resources.
Cities need large employers, where the mass of people can earn enough to live adequately. I am not sure the flock of development geese is flying in the correct direction.
Rain Washing Away Bolga